Igor Dyatlov was born on January 13, 1936, near Sverdlovsk (present-day Yekaterinburg).
He loved camping and built radios as a kid. This passion for technology and the wilderness grew stronger with him throughout his teenage years into early adulthood.
In 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik into outer space, Dyatlov was an engineering student at the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI).
He and a group of friends constructed a satellite to see the satellite at night.
During their time at the institute, Dyatlov often found himself in the wilderness conducting tests on outdoor equipment, both of his inventions and others’. Sometimes, he wandered into the unknowns just for the fun of it.
The success of the Sputnik program bolstered national confidence all over the USSR. Dyatlov had a tremendous eagerness to show the world that the new Soviet generation was as bold and brave as everyone thought them to be.
To prove his point, he planned an ambitious sixteen-day winter expedition across the Urals, the mountain range that divides Siberia and western Russia; in a sense, Asia and Europe.
The expedition ended up killing his hiking team in bewildering circumstances.
10 /10 Mysteriously Underdressed
Dyatlov assembled a group of nine hikers – seven men and two women –including himself, for the undertaking.
Every one of them was a youth elite and experienced outdoor enthusiast, including Zina Kolmogorova, Georgy Krivonishchenko, Rustem Slobodin, Nikolay Thibault-Brignoles, Yuri Yudin, Yuri Doroshenko, Aleksandr Kolevatov, and Lyuda Dubinina.
A few days before the group was supposed to start the expedition, the institute added another member.
He was Semyon Zolotaryov, a WWII veteran whom the original team knew nothing about. A week into the expedition, they were found dead in the most deplorable conditions, mysteriously underdressed.
9 /10 Second Northern
With the addition of Zolotaryov, the original team members left Sverdlovsk on January 23, 1959, by train. It took two days to reach the town of Ivdel, where a Stalin-era prison camp still existed.
There was still a long way ahead of them: another day on the bus, followed by a hitchhike on a truck, and finally a trip on the snowy surface by ski.
Their next stop was a place called Second Northern, an abandoned logging camp. Yuri Yurdin suffered from a sudden episode of sciatic. On January 28, he turned back and canceled the expedition.